Winter Solstice, and a New Book

I have really noticed the solstice this year, as my attic studio room (nope, still haven’t come up with a good term) has no natural light on the east side, and although I can use my daylight lamp, that tends to give me a headache so I am waiting for my sister-in-law’s tabletop easel so I can work on my bed – which has a large window facing south. The emphasis on the Solstice is normally day length but for me – and presumably other artists – it is also about intensity. Even when the sun is shining, and today it isn’t, there is a quiet sleepiness to the quality of light, like it can’t quite generate the enthusiasm for anything more than the bare minimum. For me this does tie in with a time for reflection and allowing the time to ebb and flow. I find spring and summer light really stimulating so it’s important to have this sense of cool, calm, restful natural illumination, and overriding it with the daylight lamp feels like I’m going against the grain.

I have a new book, the Collins Bird Guide 3rd Edition, which has recently arrived rather later than planned due to a late publishing date and then postal strikes and redirection issues! It is here now, and what a corker it is. I normally buy books from World of Books, Abebooks, charity shops etc but I do need the most current version of this field guide to make sure the logbooks are accurate so it’s a good excuse to treat myself. I have a copy of the original Bird Guide, which I use for checking the plumage and characteristic markings for the illustrations, and then the 2nd Edition is in the bookcase for general usage. The Latin name are occasionally updated as new data emerges, and rapid change and new information means some of the distribution and frequency maps have altered since 1999.

I will enjoy looking through this over the next week or so, before gearing up for Birds of Greenwich Peninsula in the new year.

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